Market Data

Is a travel recession in the wings?

May 12, 2019 / Trends
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Shutterstock

While employment and overall economic numbers still look like it's full steam ahead for the U.S. economy, the travel industry may be starting to feel a light recessionary chill.

Booking Holdings saw its total revenues decline 3 percent, year-over-year, to $2.8 billion in the first quarter of this year.

In March travel to and within the US increased 2 percent - marking just over nine years of expansion. However, this growth was dampened by the news that international inbound travel fell a whopping 5.4% year-over-year in March - after edging down just 0.2% in February.

Products & Services

Marriott's U.S. hotels hit rough patch in Q1 

May 12, 2019 / Marriott
Marriott International
Marriott International

Marriott reported relatively modest North American RevPAR growth of 0.8% in the first quarter, with performance negatively impacted by a confluence of events.

RevPAR would have grown an additional 0.7% if it weren't for the partial federal government shutdown in January, tough comparisons to hurricane recovery in Florida and Houston, and a lingering impact from the fourth-quarter labor strike in Hawaii.

Additionally, North American RevPAR was weighed down in part by a weak performance from limited-service hotels, for which RevPAR declined 0.3%. Marriott's limited-service brands include Courtyard, Residence Inn and Fairfield.

Related: Hilton’s brand portfolio overtakes Marriott’s as world’s most valuable

Distribution

Google buying cycle research to shed light on travel’s ‘messy middle’

May 12, 2019 / Google
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Shutterstock

New Google research has found that while brand remains important when holidaymakers are shopping for package holidays online it is not the defining influence.

Social norms - views and recommendations of ‘friends’ in social networks - and industry body kitemarks or awards (‘category heuristics’) help customers shortcut decision making.

Also influential in the package sector is ‘power of free’ - added value like free nights or all-inclusive - Google senior industry head Ru Roberts told a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast last week.

Related: Google: What travel marketers should know about people searching for experiences

Technology

Restaurant POS system trends to look out for in 2019

May 12, 2019 / F&B
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Shutterstock

Going into 2019, there are some cutting-edge trends developing in the area of restaurant POS technology.

The role of the POS system, used primarily for billing, has evolved into an operations hub that connects all your online order sources, guest-facing technology, and your kitchen. It’s the foundation of a technical system that helps you manage your restaurant operations better on the whole.

POS systems can then feed your transaction data into CRM systems for marketing, into your accounting software for tax management, and into your analytics software for you to get an accurate picture of your restaurant business.

Related: Restaurants should increase their appetite for digital marketing

Digital Marketing

Whitepaper: Social seen to be at the heart of digital transformation

May 12, 2019 / Social Media
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Shutterstock

Digital change is being focussed on social media with Facebook advertising being considered as offering the best return on marketing spend ahead of Google Adwords.

Respondents, drawn from Travolution and Travel Weekly audiences, were found to be optimistic that their firms were embracing digital transformation at board level, but were more conservative when estimating what budgets were being spent on innovation and new projects.

Live chat and personalised emails were cited as the key areas in which firms are looking to improve the customer experience and respondents claimed to be seeing high levels of loyalty among their customers.

Digital Marketing

Hoteliers: Everything you need to know from Google’s I/O conference

May 12, 2019 / Cendyn (sponsored)
Google
Google

Privacy was a primary focus, as was the continued evolution of Google’s triple-threat ecosystem of Android, search, and voice assistant.

Google announced new developer tools for its flagship Google Assistant. After testing for the past year, developers can now deep-link specific pages within apps to Google’s voice assistant. This means that voice commands can trigger specific actions within Android apps.

For hospitality brands, these “Actions” enable a more useful app experience. Imagine this scenario: After a long day of travel, a traveler settles into her room and realizes that she’s hungry. With a voice command — “Hey Google, order room service” — she can go straight to the room service portion of a hotel’s app.

Digital Marketing

How to maximise your summertime revenue

May 12, 2019 / Net Affinity (sponsored)
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Shutterstock

Now’s the time to start putting plans in place, prep your offers, think about creative, and everything in between.

Start with a decently priced early bird offer to encourage as many longer lead bookings as possible at this stage. This will put you in the best position for later on in the season, because generating a healthy base of customers initially will allow you to raise your rates during peak season.

What features would actually make your customer's stay more enjoyable? What would make their stay more convenient? What extras would they truly appreciate as part of the offer? For starters, remember: less is more.